Biden’s Industrial Policy
The Trump presidency caused a paradigm shift in both major parties. While Former President Trump mostly virtue signaled to working-class Americans, his tariffs, aggressive trade policy, and willingness to subsidize industry did benefit some workers. Those actions forced Democrats to adopt similar measures rebuking the neoliberal policies in favor of more protectionist policies. Donald Trump shifted the Republican party to a more protectionist tone, putting more working-class voters in play and putting Democrats on the defensive.
This forced Democratic nominees for the presidency to show they could appeal to those voters. The result was Joe Biden won the nomination. President Biden, who touted his blue-collar connections and promised to focus his policy on them, has passed several large-scale industrial policies.
These bills together are aimed at reshoring manufacturing jobs and increasing domestic capacity. I mostly see this as a good thing. I’ll be upfront, while I have generally been a proponent of free trade as it decreases the costs of goods and services, I see the value in protecting key industries and or protecting jobs in a domestic economy. We have to honestly assess the winners and losers of free trade policymakers ignored communities that were hollowed out. People saw jobs leave their communities which is a problem we can and should fix. Most of our peer nations subsidize their manufacturing and vital industries, aiming to protect themselves from supply shocks and keep a basic standard of living for citizens. Our resistance to doing the same has allowed mass outsourcing of jobs as companies seek to maximize profit even at the expense of our commonwealth. While Trump was the catalyst for the paradigm shift, I am happy to see Biden deliver for Americans too often left behind by both major parties. The Democratic Party and Joe Biden should prioritize protecting workers but also work towards a fair trade system where our workers, goods, and services can compete globally in a fair market and Biden’s policies are a good start.